• Switzerland edition
 
VIPs line up in jets and limousines for Art Basel
Visitors view artwork by Adriana Vareniao at Art Basel. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

VIPs line up in jets and limousines for Art Basel

Published: 13 Jun 2013 11:55 GMT+02:00
Updated: 13 Jun 2013 11:55 GMT+02:00

The 44th edition of the show opened to the public on Thursday, but the doors were nudged open earlier on Tuesday for special VIPs wanting an advance peek at the wide range of artwork displayed across a whopping 31,000 square metres (334,000 square feet) of exhibition space.
   
On Wednesday, an estimated 110 private jets landed and took off from the Basel-Mulhouse airport, after 83 flew through there on Tuesday despite a strike that reduced the airport's capacity and forced some wealthy patrons of the arts to change their travel plans.
   
It was important to be among the first to squeeze through the doors, Annka 
Kultys, a Swiss art collector based in London, told AFP.
 
"The rule in Basel is that you cannot put (artwork) on hold before the art 
fair, so we need to be here the first day, and just run to the booths that we are interested in," she said.
 
"I know exactly where I want to go when I come here, which gallery I want 
to see, which artist," she added.
   
Some 65,000 visitors are expected to come to Art Basel this year to see exhibits by a lucky 304 galleries, picked from more than 1,000 that vied for a spot at the lucrative fair.

"There's been a buzz immediately," Tim Marlow, director of exhibitions at the London-based White Cube Gallery told AFP, just a few hours after the buying frenzy began.
   
"We've sold two Sergei Jensen paintings, a Tracey Emin, we sold this Mark 
Bradford work for $725,000," he said, pointing to the large abstract canvas behind him.
   
"And there is serious interest in the Damien Hirst pill cabinet, at four 
million pounds," he added with a broad smile, nodding to a large mirror wall lined with tightly spaced, narrow metal shelves covered with pills in different colours and shapes.
   
Art Basel's impact on a gallery's bottom line does not stop with what is 
sold at the fair, he said.
   
"It's about connections made and clients made, and museums.

"A lot of 
museums come . . . and then conversations are hatched, work is bought . . . exhibitions are planned."
 
The art world appears to have bucked the global economic crisis, with 
income from global auction sales more than doubling since it hit bottom in 2009, passing eight billion euros last year, according to French specialised website Artprice.com.
   
"I think the art market is actually in a very strong position," Art Basel 
director Marc Spiegler told AFP.
   
Case in point: a few hours after the opening 
Tuesday he said he was noticing "a lot of frustration among collectors because the things that they want to buy are already sold."

 'From five percent of world's rich to 40 percent' 

Amid all the stock market turmoil in recent years, the world's wealthy are increasingly turning to art as a good and safe investment, experts say.
 
"I reckon that in the next 10 years we'll see the market going from about 
five percent of the world's rich having art to around 40 percent," said Philip Hoffman, the head of the Fine Art Fund Group, which advises wealthy clients on what pieces to add to their collections.
   
But Art Basel is not only about investment; it is also about the enjoyment 
of seeing a wide range of work by the great artists of the 20th century, such as Picasso, Kandinsky and Warhol, mixed in with the cutting edge of today, Spiegler said.
 
For those more interested in looking than buying, a whole hall has been 
reserved for the "Unlimited" collection of large and sometimes astonishing works that are not for sale at the fair.
   
Unlike in the crowded section next door, there is plenty of space to stroll 
through the 11,500-square-metre exhibit, admiring works by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, British sculptor Antony Gormley, or Japanese Chiharu Shiota, who has covered chairs and a grand piano in a massive web of black string.
   
There are also less well-known artists on display, like Chinese He An.

   
"This is my first time here," he says through a translator, as he shields 
his eyes to gaze through his piece, "Hubble", a massive metal tube made from billboards with the powerful light usually used in advertising shooting out at the observer "as if from a cannon."
   
Swiss art collector Marco Stoffel, who has been coming to Art Basel for the 
past 20 years, says he likes starting in the Unlimited section before heading to the buying frenzy next door.
   
"I start here, where I can remain calm, and then, afterwards, it's off to 
the circus," he told AFP.

Nina Larson/AFP (news@thelocal.ch)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Federer advances as Wawrinka falls in Paris
Photo: Franck Fife/AFP

Federer advances as Wawrinka falls in Paris

Roger Federer advanced at the Paris Masters tennis tournament on Thursday after beating Frenchman Lucas Pouille in two sets. READ  

Geneva doctors dress for battle with Ebola virus
Health workers take part in pre-deployment training. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Geneva doctors dress for battle with Ebola virus

Sweating behind fogged-up goggles, Thanh Dang meticulously follows each instruction as she peals away layers of protective clothing, stopping repeatedly to wash her double-gloved hands in chlorine disinfectant. READ  

Former Coop Bank CEO faces three-year ban
FINMA found irregularities at the bank. Photo: Coop Bank

Former Coop Bank CEO faces three-year ban

The Swiss Financial Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has banned former Coop Bank CEO Andreas Waespi from any managerial role for three years after it was found he manipulated share prices at the bank. READ  

Federal law aims to ease Swiss rent rises
New tenants will now have the right to know the rent paid by their predecessors. Photo: Ruth Hartnup

Federal law aims to ease Swiss rent rises

Anyone taking on a new lease on a rental property in Switzerland will have the right to know what rent the landlord charged the previous tenants under new changes to the tenancy law. READ  

Weapons stockpile found in home near Interlaken
Police took two days to take an inventory of the weapons (not those pictured). Photo: AFP

Weapons stockpile found in home near Interlaken

Police have seized a stash of around 2,000 weapons and ammunition hoarded by a 68-year-old man in his Unterseen home, near Interlaken in the Bernese Oberland. READ  

Federer struggles to win opener at Paris Masters
Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

Federer struggles to win opener at Paris Masters

Switzerland’s Roger Federer struggled at times but finally prevailed in three sets in his opening match at the Paris Masters tennis tournament against hard-serving Frenchman Jérémy Chardy. READ  

Nestlé to 'employ' robot clerks in Japan stores
Photo: AFP

Nestlé to 'employ' robot clerks in Japan stores

Swiss-based food giant Nestlé says its Japan unit is hiring 1,000 robots as sales clerks at stores across the country. READ  

Lagging Swiss ease 'barriers' for business
Switzerland has made it easier to start a business by introducing online procedures, report says. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Lagging Swiss ease 'barriers' for business

Switzerland may be best in the world for competitiveness but when it comes to ease of starting a business the Alpine country lags behind 19 other countries — although it has improved over the past year, a new World Bank report says. READ  

Bern police track clues on 50 armed robbers
The Reithalle, seen here as it looked in 2003, is used by young people in Bern as a centre for alternative culture. Photo: Roland Zumbühl/Picswiss

Bern police track clues on 50 armed robbers

Bern police are seeking witnesses after a bizarre robbery involving 50 masked gunmen at an alternative culture centre in the Swiss capital at the weekend. READ  

Neuchâtel tech firm unveils white solar panel
Christophe Ballif, head of CSEM's solar panel team, and staff show off white panel. Photo: CSEM

Neuchâtel tech firm unveils white solar panel

A non-profit technology company based in Neuchâtel has unveiled what it describes as the first white solar panel in the world. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Job candidates unhappy with hiring process in Switzerland
National
Glacier 3000 opens new foot bridge spanning two mountains in Vaud
National
Swiss seek special Unesco heritage listing for yodelling and watchmaking
International
Switzerland regarded as best place in world for expats: global survey
National
Red faces at Migros over Hitler and Mussolini coffee cream pots
National
Quarter of workers in Switzerland 'stressed out': new survey
Travel
Lonely Planet ranks Zermatt among top places to visit in 2015
National
Majority of Swiss back proposed new immigration curbs: poll
Features
Eritrean asylum seekers find refuge in Swiss monastery town
National
Expat American professor disputes 'unjust' Swiss citizenship rejection
National
Sputtering eurozone drags down Swiss economic growth forecast
Features
Swiss-based English expat writer lauds immigrant 'brains and brawn'
International
Our survey: Switzerland third priciest for food and drink from back home
National
Zurich market gardener sets world 'record' for heaviest pumpkin
National
Report: Switzerland's residents richer than before economic crash
Features
Geneva lab sleuths use high tech to help art world uncover fakes
National
Father of Scot missing since early September fears Swiss trauma
National
Foreign women give birth to rising share of newborns: latest figures
National
'Giant's penis' bloom in Basel uni botanical garden bigger than ever
National
Switzerland's voters reject public health insurance proposal
National
Zooming foreign immigration continues to boost Swiss population
National
Scientific study rings alarm over wellbeing of Swiss cows with bells
National
Geneva MP seeks ban on charging for tap water in restaurants
Business & Money
Switzerland's residents top world financial wealth list: Allianz report
National
Saint Maurice abbey in Valais celebrates 1,500 years of history
National
Streaming movie video service Netflix arrives in Switzerland
National
Professional Chilean base jumper dives to death in Swiss Alps
Education
ETH Zurich remains top university in Europe: QS world rankings
National
Switzerland's housing vacancy rate jumps: new federal figures
National
Swiss football club fires team masseuse over explicit sex video
National
Geneva police arrest easyJet passenger over hand luggage row
Business & Money
Latest forecasts for Swiss economic growth turn less bullish
Sport
Formula One legend Schumacher to continue treatment at Swiss home
National
Former federal planning official calls for nine Swiss cantons
Features
The Local gets the lowdown on mushroom picking in Switzerland
National
Virgin boss Richard Branson's son rescued from peak of Matterhorn
National
Swiss President Didier Burkhalter's commute turns Twitter sensation
Features
High-tech cameras give dizzy view of Eiger's north face (VIDEO)
Politics
Baden municipal council strips 'nude selfies mayor' of duties
Business & Money
Switzerland stays atop competitiveness table for sixth year
National
Federal parliament secretary agrees to step down over nude selfies
National
Swiss residents pick Swedes as ideal European soul mates: survey
National
Zurich officials call project to move prostitutes to 'sex boxes' a success
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,197
jobs available